Letters for Sunday, February 25, 2007

• Are we losing our minds?

• The cheap TV is king

• Why have trophy houses everywhere?


Are we losing our minds?

Sometimes I really wonder if people truly mean these things they write about in the opinion pages, or if they are simply trying to get people’s hackles up. In Internet parlance, such a person would be called a “troll.”

Yesterday, we found out that at least one person believes slavery is a good thing (“Slaves serve middle class,” Letters, Feb. 24).

“Look ma … it even mentions in the Bible that you should be good to your slaves. What more proof do you want?”

I’m reminded of the famous “Wall Street” exclamation, “Greed is good.”

To assert that the only way to make goods affordable is to use cheap labor to produce it, is to basically say that you no longer believe in the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and capability of American industry and the American workforce. I guess I really can’t argue that we have lost the lion’s share of our edge here, but I keep holding on to the hope that we will wake up from “this long national nightmare” and get back on the right track.

What ever happened to the idea that you streamline processes and innovate with new technologies and new approaches to doing things to make it easier and cheaper to produce goods? The boom in the American economy immediately following World War II was not achieved by offshoring labor to cheap foreign markets. There used to be a pride in saying something was “made in America,” and a strongly held belief that Americans should have jobs so they could live comfortable lives.

How on earth did this get replaced by a culture that demands instant gratification, upholds the exploitation of others as an ideal to produce cheap goods, and then has the audacity to use the Bible to justify it? Are we losing our collective mind? Have the terrorists slipped us some kind of psychotropic mickie? This is downright embarrassing, disheartening, and disgusting. I honestly felt sick to my stomach after reading that letter.

Would someone please explain to me what is going on here?

Michael Mann

‘Ele’ele


The cheap TV is king

ith (“Slaves serve middle class,” Letters, Feb. 24), for removing all the obfuscation and revealing the pure, hard-line capitalist view for what it is. By openly supporting the institution of slavery, Mr. Smith has shown us the true essence of the “profits, not people” ideology. How refreshing to hear a capitalist admit that he doesn’t care about right or wrong, good or bad.

Free-market enthusiasts like Mr. Smith, through his own admission, joyfully condone a system in which people with dark skin in Central America and Asia toil 14 hours a day without adequate food, shelter or medical care, and without the right to protest for better conditions, so that he can buy a cheap color TV. In fact, people like Mr. Smith believe that it is wrong for working people anywhere to demand fairness, because it might make that TV more expensive if they won.

It is a marvel that Mr. Smith doesn’t question how much cheaper that TV might be if, for example, the average large corporation CEO pay of 531 times the pay of the lowest-paid employee was trimmed. But forget the price of TVs — imagine the benefits to the hard-working people who make them if some of that wealth was spread around more fairly.

Cheap goods or no cheap goods, what really matters in this world are questions of ethics — the simple matter of concern for the happiness and suffering of others. Luckily for us all, throughout history, enslaved and oppressed people, and the people of conscience who support them, have repeatedly fought and won greater measures of justice and equality in this world, and there is no indication that we will ever stop.

Katy Rose

Hanalei


Why have trophy houses everywhere?

I operate a vacation rental in Ha‘ena.

I pay taxes of $1,200 per month.

Do you think that if I could not rent this house that it would go to local rental, and everything would be fine?

No, the house would have to be sold. Someone from off-island would buy it, the taxes would go up even more for everybody, and what would be accomplished?

Taxes should be lowered, not raised for vacation rentals unless you want a string of trophy houses which no local would be able to afford to buy or rent.

Pieter S. Myers

Hanalei

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